A new report reveals the number of cats entering the RSPCA continues to rise and encourages vets to promote neutering to prevent unplanned litters.
The cat population in the UK has reached crisis point, with more cats being taken in than ever before and fewer people adopting them.
In a new report, Tackling the Cat Crisis, it has been revealed the number of cats entering the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) has increased from 29,269 in 2010 to 31,556 in 2012.
The number of new homes found for cats in the same period declined by 10 per cent.
The RSPCA is full to capacity and, at the end of 2013, had to rely on private boarding to home 30 per cent of the unwanted and abandoned cats in its care.
The cost of boarding has also risen from £1.9m in 2010 to £2.45m in 2013.
Seventy-five per cent of the UK’s cat population are acquired as kittens, meaning the market for rescue cats is already small.
RSPCA chief veterinary officer James Yeates said: “The answer to the cat crisis lies in loving cat owners neutering their cats before they can get pregnant.
“Sadly, one of the consequences of not neutering your cat means more and more cats are being brought into rescue centres as there is a shortage of available good homes for them.
“Our centres are now at crisis point, with an increasing number of cats coming into our care.”
Research found many owners are delaying neutering because they incorrectly believe cats should have one litter before they are neutered.
It also found 85 per cent of litters are unplanned, as a result of owners being confused about when they should neuter their cats.
Cats can reach sexual maturity at around four months old, yet the traditional age for neutering is six months old.
For this reason, the RSPCA and other animal welfare organisations are calling on more vets to practise and promote neutering at four months of age to prevent unplanned litters.